South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation for a reason. Not only is Mzansi the first African country to allow homosexual marriage, but the Civil Union Act passed in 2006 made it only the fifth country in the world to adopt marriage equality.
Moreover, South Africa has a record of celebrities who have been open about their sexuality and how well they feel they can define it.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to 15 celebs who are proud to represent the LGBTQ+ community! The list includes the likes of Letoya Makhene, Thandiswa Mazwai, Lasziwe Dambuza, Toya Delazy, and Roberto Kyle.
1. Armand Aucamp
Famous for playing the role of Tom in Die Boekklub, aka the writer of the show, Armand has also gained fame for playing the role of Jan van Riebeeck in Krotoa, Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling.
Besides, he also shocked his fans and other people around him by telling the truth about his sexuality. “For the first 24 years, I couldn’t stand in my own shoes,” he said to his buddy and award-winning writer. “I was carrying something I couldn’t even name myself. I’m gay.”
Armand had posted an Instagram post with a message that was almost identical to an important affirmation he was about to make. After the interview, where he admitted that he is gay, several celebrities came out to applaud him for taking a stand. He has been active on social media since then, uploading images of himself and his partner.
2. Somizi Mhlongo
A son of the late actor Ndaba Mhlongo and veteran actress Mary Twala, Somizi is one of the most popular television personalities in South Africa. He is the boldest celebrity who came out to prove their sexuality at a time when the criticism of being gay was at its peak.
As an openly gay actor, choreographer, presenter, socialite, reality star, and Idols South Africa judge, Somizi is one of the most high-profile LGBTQ+ entertainers in the country.
In 2018, he took the industry by surprise when he got engaged to the love of his life, Mohale Motaung. They joined the country’s same-sex couples and are on the list of South African hot stars.
3. Sade Giliberti
Sade is a South African media influencer who has expertise in presenting children’s shows. She carries the show on SABC1’s YOTV. The thirty-eight-year-old presenter has bagged a couple of awards and nominations in the time that she has been in the industry.
Aside from her successful profession, Sade has been outspoken against lesbian prejudice and bullying. She came out to condemn the act and affirm that she is lesbian.
“I don’t care what people say about the fact that I like girls and am a lesbian… I am perfectly fine with that,” Sade adds. She is not ashamed of taking a stand. Sade is confident about it and shares pictures alluding to it on her social media platforms.
4. Toya Delazy
Toya is well-known for composing music that implies her sexuality. ‘Forbidden Fruit,’ one of her songs, alluded to her sexual emancipation.
Once she was criticized for wearing an outfit reserved for men at the IFP leader’s 90th birthday party, Delazy slammed back at haters, posting on Twitter, “If any man in this kingdom or elsewhere has a problem with me changing the status quo, let us meet barehanded. THIS IS THE OFFICIAL OUTFIT for Zulu girls of different genders. I’m grateful to my family for their acceptance and embrace. Toya has performed at Pride gatherings all around the world and is currently pursuing success in her international career in Europe.
5. PJ Powers
Famous for having been a former member of Hotline, PJ Powers embarked on a solo music career in the 80s with hits like Feel So Strong, You’re So Good To Me, and Jabulani. She has performed for kings, queens (the royal kind), and global television audiences.
For a long time, rumors about her queer sexual life have been the talk of the town. She dismissed the claims until 2014 when she faced the speculations and said, “I think gay people know I’m gay, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never had an issue with being gay with myself, and I’ve never had other people treat me differently.”
6. Thulasizwe Lasizwe Dambuza
Lasizwe Dambuza is one of the rare TV stars to succeed at a young age. As a member of a new generation of internet artists, social media phenomenon Lasizwe has said that coming out was the toughest thing he has ever done.
He cites Somizi as a driving force in creating acceptance for celebrities who are gay, telling TshisaLIVE, “People are really more accepting now because of Somizi, who is making it a typical thing.”
Besides his career being the center of attention, he has also topped the headlines for being among the hot gay men in the country. He came out to reveal that he has a boyfriend named Marcus. Not only that, he recently stated that he has several lovers and that Marcus is fine with it.
Same as Somizi, Nakhane is another member of the celebrities who came out to define their queer sexuality at a time when criticism about being gay was at its peak.
He made a grand entry into the industry when he released his debut album in 2013, which later won him an award during the SAMAs. He later used his album as a platform to address his sexuality.
In his latest single, New Brighton, Nakhane collaborates with Anohni, the transgender musician and artist from Antony and the Johnsons. He also frequently dines with Madonna and boldly advocates for queer equality and sexual wellness.
Apart from music, Nakhane is a proud member of a campaign that aims to enlighten the public on sexual health, especially for gays. It also promotes queer equality.
8. Simphiwe Dana
South Africa is one endless source of music icons, and the new talent, Simphiwe Dana, only serves to prove that fact. A Xhosa by tribe, Dana not only sings but writes songs as well. Her unusual combination of folk music, Rap, Afro-soul, and Jazz sets her apart as the country’s new Mirriam Makeba.
Simphiwe Dana came out as gay in November 2020, and she’s engaged to Pumeza Matshikiza. She (then) said that she has been keeping her sexuality a secret for far too long and she felt it was about time to come out of the closet. “I’ve been holding this in forever. I’m gay.”
“I’m marrying her. She’s coming home to me today. We are overjoyed.” On her TL, Simphiwe captioned a photo of Pumeza.
Her fans showed their love for Simphiwe and applauded her for finally being brave enough to share her news. Actress Rami Chuene was among those who assured the singer that her disclosures had not changed her feelings for Simphiwe.
“Look! We’re here for it. For all of it. Sending you and your partner lots of love,” Rami said.
9. Thandiswa Mazwai
Thandiswa Mazwai, aka King Tha, is nothing less than a South African musical icon. In recent years, she’s returned to the stage with her sold-out show, A Letter to Azania. It describes itself as “a sonic exploration of Azania’s utopian idea while expressing the melancholy that comes with a dream deferred.”
She opens up about her personal life on Twitter. King Tha explained the circumstances around her coming out as homosexual. “Ok. Just to get things started. When I first learned I was homosexual, I despised the name. I knew it meant I was different, and at the time, I didn’t know any other gay people except myself. Very confusing time”. “Thank God, things improved,” she tweeted.
King Tha also added that she’s got nothing against men, but girls are a lot nicer.
10. Khaya Dladla
Khaya Dladla is a South African actress, model, and musician. In February 2015, Khaya debuted in Uzalo as a Gay Character (GC). Her role in the three episodes of the SABC1 soap opera was originally planned to be that of a gay buddy, but after the actor gave a standout performance and the character received excellent feedback from viewers, her role was enlarged and given a history.
Khaya was married to her longtime boyfriend, Mercutio Buthelezi, in 2020. Two years later, they called it quits and divorced after almost two years of marriage. The couple was once one of Mzansi’s favorite gay couples in Celebville.
11. Roberto Kyle
Roberto Kyle is a South African actor and singer. He has starred in the fourth season of the Emmy-winning show “Homeland” and more recently in “Arendsvlei” and “Fynskrif” season 3, among other projects.
He is most recognized for his part in the soap opera Arendsvlei as Lee-Roy Foster. The actor from Paarl is openly gay, and according to Roberto, it took him 25 years to love who he is.
He gets serious when he says his sexuality does not determine which type of actor he is, or that he can or should only portray a gay character.
“I didn’t go to drama school for that. If I have to play a tree, then I play a tree,” says Kyle, “I like taking on roles that I find challenging, and that changes over time. It is critical to me that the persona represents a real and well-rounded depiction of the human experience.”
12. Marc Lottering
In 2000, the award-winning stand-up comedian came out as gay. Back then, a lot of people were homophobic; hence, entertainers who were gay were not comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation. For Marc, though, this did not affect his career that much, and he continued to be booked and busy.
He married McKay at a small private ceremony attended by friends and family back in 2010. They’d been together for almost a decade. The couple has been serving cute marriage goals since they tied the knot. They take vacations and gush over each other on social media. Despite the fact that their marriage is public knowledge, Marc and McKay do not exploit it.
13. Mandisa Nduna
An experienced performer whose path to fame has proven beneficial, she is a fearless woman who is never embarrassed to express her beliefs and views.
In 2011, Mandisa Nduna unexpectedly shot to popularity. This is because she was one of the last four competitors in Class Act, a reality competition that was once broadcast on SABC1.
Mandisa is also famous for her relationship with Thishiwe Ziqubu, as the duo has been confident about coming out to speak about their sexuality. They have also contributed some of the most incredible images to the internet that portray love in its purest form.
14. Letoya Makhene-Pulumo
Letoya is the most famous actress for her roles in the South African soap operas Isidigo and Generations. People have known her because of the notorious character she portrays in the Generations soap opera.
She married her wife, Lebo Pulumo-Makhene, in December 2020. Talking about her relationship with Lebo, she said, “I met an amazing yet complicated woman along my journey through life. I was told by many that this would ruin my career and that I should never come out.
Her connection garnered media attention as soon as it was revealed. The connection between well-known actress Letoya Makhene-Pulumo and her ex-girlfriend Lebo Keswa was questioned and derided by many.
Now that she is happily married, Letoya has opened up about being a proud queer woman, detailing the obstacles in her path.
15. Selby Mkhize
Selby Mkhize, aka Selby “Selbeyonce” Mkhize, is a South African actor best known for his role as Lulu Mtshali on Imbewu. Most individuals who are unfamiliar with him but brand-new viewers of the show frequently have a number of questions for him regarding his character Lulu.
Selbeyonce is also a radio host on Mzansi for his life-of-the-party personality. He brings life to any listener through his talent, which undoubtedly oozes his character.
He has never tied the knot. The charismatic radio broadcaster revealed that he had lost the man he hoped to marry. He met his late partner Sipho Maluleka in 2015 after a friend picked him up from Joburg’s OR Tambo Airport and took him to a house session.
Since the loss of his lover, he has revealed that moving on has been challenging. However, in 2021, he took to Twitter to express his interest in Kaizer Chiefs star midfielder named Nkosingiphile Ngcobo.